Brazilian Fish Stew (Moqueca)

I have been trying to add more seafood to our diet and am therefore on the lookout for recipes that are simple to make yet filling. Before I even made this Brazilian Fish Stew, I knew it was a keeper because the ingredient list spelled flavour, and if you know me you know I love recipes with robust flavours.

Moqueca (mo-KEH-kah) is a hearty Brazilian fish stew made with white fish simmered in a fragrant tomato coconut sauce, flavoured with chilli and lime. If you like Thai red curry, this recipe is for you. This fish stew tastes like a milder version of Thai red curry but is made with relatively fewer and easily available ingredients. Serve it with boiled rice or some nice crusty bread to mop up all that zesty creamy goodness.

This Brazilian Fish Stew takes 30 minutes to make and is so simple. Salvador – a coastal city in Brazil is well known for coupling fish with lime chillies and coconut milk, a delightful combination.

You may use any fish for this recipe but firm white fish like Halibut, Cod or Sea Bass are preferred. I used Cod (Kabeljau in German) but I feel Halibut would hold up better. You can also use prawns or seared scallops. Allow the sauce to simmer down and thicken for maximum flavour.

How to Make Moqueca:

Marinate the Fish Pieces in lime juice, lime zest and salt for 15 to 20 minutes.

Make the Stew Base by sautéing onions, red pepper, jalapenos, and garlic. Add tomato paste and spices. Mix in chopped tomatoes and simmer till tomatoes have softened.

Add Coconut Milk to the stew and bring to boil. Place marinated fish pieces in simmering sauce and cook until fish is done. Allow the stew to simmer till it begins to slightly thicken.

Ingredients:

  • Cod or Halibut 600 grams; cut into pieces
  • Salt 1 tsp.
  • Lime 1; juice and zest
  • Olive Oil 2 tbsp
  • Onion 1; diced
  • Red Bell Pepper 1; diced
  • Garlic Cloves 3; minced
  • Jalapeno 1; diced
  • Smoked Paprika 2 tsp.
  • Cumin Powder 1 tsp.
  • Red Chilli Powder 1/4 tsp.
  • Red Chilli Flakes 1/4 tsp.
  • Tomato Paste 1 tbsp.
  • Vegetable or Fish Stock 1 cup
  • Tomatoes 2; diced
  • Coconut Milk (Creamy) 400 ml
  • Coriander 2 tbsp. chopped

Instructions:

Marinate fish pieces in lime juice, lime zest and salt for 15 to 20 minutes. In the mean time heat oil in a saucepan on medium heat and saute onions. When the onions are translucent add diced red bell pepper, jalapenos and garlic. Saute till all the ingredients are fragrant around 5 minutes. Add spices and tomato paste and cook for 2 more minutes. Pour in stock and diced tomatoes and cook covered till tomatoes have softened.

Mix in coconut milk and bring mixture to a boil. Carefully place marinated fish pieces in simmering sauce and cook for 6-7 minutes or until fish is cooked through. Reduce heat to low and let the stew to simmer for a few minutes until the sauce starts to thicken. Serve hot with rice or thick crusty bread.

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